Facing Blocks at the Start of my Journey
As a VAR fellow, I will be working towards starting my own business, and the intention to do that alone, can bring out the dreaded “artist block”. Though everyone has their own definition of an artist block, it does not solely apply to people working in a creative field. I look at it as a period of time that could span anywhere from a day to a few years where people feel as though they can’t progress with their careers because they do not have the inspiration or drive to do so. Artist blocks are typically interpreted as an issue, but they should be seen as a blessing in disguise.
Why Fear Matters
I know that sounds crazy, but think about the last time you had a block, and what you were doing right before you got that block. For example, when I get an artist block, it typically comes after I have spent an abundance of time on a project I was super passionate about. A block is not only based on the inability to move forward, but is also a stage of mourning for what has been completed. Often time’s people forget to reward themselves as well as reflect on the work that they accomplished, and instead, just try to move to the next thing. This time should be valued and should be seen as a necessary state of healing. Though someone going through an artist block might not have another idea for a project in their mind right away, the ability to learn from mistakes or figure out what worked best while working on the last project is important for making the next project more efficient.
Why your Blocks are Opportunities
The time that you have during an artist block is also important for growth, because it allows you to assess your strengths and weaknesses. How you decide to spend time during an artist block, or how you are able to get out of one, will tell you more about yourself then when you finally get to work through a project. What is ironic is how most people have gone through the same artist block over and over again, and have yet to find a way to detect its start. This aspect of detecting the point of transition is important so you have the ability to organize how you will go through it. For example, I recently finished working on a durational art piece that took 3 months to complete. I have always known that my art takes a long time to complete because it is labor intensive, so when I finished the piece, I immediately caught myself starting to repeat the same process that I would repeat every time I finished an art work prior to it. I would normally stop making work for a week or two, and start fearing and questioning how I could be an artist if I ran out of ideas. Though in the back of my mind I still knew that I had no idea for what my next project was, I was able to change my usual approach and instead of constantly questioning myself, I started to ask others about my work instead. I showed my work to anybody who would look at it and realized that the amount of feedback I was getting was enough for me to conduct so much research that another project idea came to me in no time! I was able to prove to myself that though I was going through an artist block, I was able to make the most out of it by looking at it as an art piece in itself. There was the intent to make it, the process, and the final result, which is definitely not a block to me!
Netanel Saso is a BFA student at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. She is originally from Tel Aviv in Israel, and moved to the United States at a young age. At the Cooper Union, she is primarily grounded in printmaking and the moving image. Her work plays with trust as she recreates through manipulation and exploration of space in a whimsical manner, the original state of objects, childhood memories, and found footage. Her passion for art and education grew when she worked as an assistant and teacher at Studio Arts Dallas in Texas and volunteered at the Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art. She is currently a volunteer at the Rubin Museum of Art. As a VAR Fellow, she looks forward to working towards her dream of opening her own creative art studio for all ages in the future.